Crash victims’ families cry foul over missing valuables

Source: Crash victims’ families cry foul over missing valuables | The Herald June 12, 2017

Walter Nyamukondiwa Chinhoyi Bureau
Relatives of some of the victims of the Nyamakate bus disaster have said they are yet to account for cash and personal belongings of their deceased relatives four days after the accident. Most of the passengers on the Zambia-bound King Lion bus were cross-border traders, while others were going to clear their vehicles at Chirundu Border Post or fetch them in Tanzania.

“My brother Marcus Kalaveti, who was on that bus had about $4 600, which he intended to use to clear his vehicle, but we are yet to get the money,” said Mr Frank Kalaveti, who escaped the accident with minor injuries.

A Congolese national, who had two bags containing cellphones said he was yet to recover his belongings.

“While I am recovering well, my mind is not at ease because I have not yet recovered my personal belongings,” said the Congolese who preferred anonymity.

Police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi said all records of personal belongings recovered at the accident scene were at Chinhoyi Police Traffic section.

“We would like to urge people to go and check with Chinhoyi Police Traffic for their personal belongings because that is where all records pertaining to recovered goods are,” he said.

Relatives further implored authorities to look into the safety record of public service vehicle operators.

This comes amid concern about the number of accidents involving King Lion buses.

At least 12 people died on July 19, 2015 when a King Lion bus was involved in an accident about 37 kilometres after Kafue Gorge along the Lusaka-Chirundu road in Zambia. The driver of the bus was allegedly speeding, leading to the death of eight Zimbabweans in that accident.

At least 53 passengers were injured in the accident. Said Lusaka province police commissioner then: “The accident occurred at around 10am after the driver only identified as Nyamande, who is still on the run, was driving at excessive speed.

“He failed to negotiate a curve and applied brakes, causing a tyre burst, leading to the vehicle overturning.”

Ironically, the Nyamakate accident occurred under similar circumstances as the driver was reportedly speeding and failed to negotiate a curve at the 257km peg along the Harare-Chirundu Highway.

In 2014, another bus from the same company, ironically in the same month of July, collided head-on with a vehicle, killing Chronicle Business Editor Mernat Mafirakureva and a passenger on the bus along the Harare-Masvingo Highway.

Police have since released the names of 40 of the people who died in the accident, while relatives have been collecting the bodies from Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital mortuary for burial in their respective areas with the assistance of a local funeral company.

The relatives said they were being asked to top up on transportation and burial services.

“They said the insurance covers a certain distance and if you want to be taken to your exact destination you have to top up,” said one relative at the Chinhoyi Hospital Mortuary at the weekend.

“The same thing also applies to the size of the casket.

“If the body cannot fit in the casket, then we are being asked to top up and get the right size.”

Nyaradzo Funeral Company referred all questions to the company covering the insurance.